Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: March 10, 2021
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Whether you’re attending a small get-together with family and friends or it’s a big neighborhood party, it’s almost a certainty that you will find a pellet smoker in sight. Therefore, if you have also switched to a pellet smoker, you will be certainly needing the best smoker pellets. Apparently, that’s why we’ve decided to review the best smoker pellets in this article.
Of course, the market has become saturated with different types of smoker pellets these days, and that means choosing the ideal one for your pellet smoker may now be difficult. To prevent you from getting lost in the myriad of options, we’ve helped you to round up seven of the best smoker pellets on the market, with the RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets being our Editor’s Choice. Buyers rave about this product as these pellets are produced using 100% natural hardwood, which allows them to deliver consistent quality.
With that said, we must also mention the fact that we wouldn’t have been able to successfully select the best pellets without the consideration of some important factors. Some of those factors include the type of wood used, what type of smoker it’s recommended for, and the package size. In terms of the article structure, you’ll find a comparison table, in-depth product reviews, and a comprehensive buying guide.
Designed to be compatible with all types of grilling and smoking and burning a lot better than normal pellets, the RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets is our Editor’s Choice and deserves all the praise it’s getting. Apart from burning very hot, these pellets also deliver extremely strong flavor, without being excessively overwhelming. It’s also worth mentioning that they’re very compact and of uniform size, which is a good thing. Like other high-quality smoker pellets, these pellets are also compatible with all types of grills and can last for several hours.
Furthermore, these pellets are easy to use, since you just need to pick the food you want and either grill or smoke them. With their real smoky flavor, the end result is always great, although the pellets look just like the other pellets. In addition, these pellets are made with a mix of hickory and oak, which some people may not like initially. However, the manufacturers have mixed them in a way that they will be more effectively utilized together. Another thing that makes the Ulitmate Blend outstanding is the fact that it is made with hardwood only, no fillers are added.
In terms of versatility, these pellets are also in a league of their own as they can be utilized to flavor an extensive range of foods. Regardless of whether it’s BBQ, steak, fish, or even briskets, you will surely smell and taste the difference. With proper heat production, the ash output of these pellets is minimal in comparison to other companies. It is a rather effective combination if you mix the smoky flavor, the ash production, and the burn rate. The only negative thing is that it does not state the hickory and oak blend specs.
What we liked:
Compatible with various grills
Doesn’t produce much ash
Great heat generation
Deliver strong flavor
What could be better:
It doesn’t specify the oak and hickory blend specs
If you have used the CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix before, it wouldn’t take long for you to know that the “Perfect Mix” in its name is actually not a joke or an exaggeration. In fact, you will know that the company is here for business as soon as you see its packaging. The pellet is produced using varieties of wood – maple, cherry, apple, and hickory – which makes it one of the most diverse options on this list. Thanks to its superb diversity, these pellets tend to add a unique flavor to whatever you are smoking or grilling.
Since they are derived from the heartwood, these pellets contain no bark. Apart from not containing bark, they also do not contain any fillers, additives, or oils. And even though they do not contain any bark, these pellets still have a low-moisture content, which is surprising since bark is known to increase ash and heat generation. This allows them to maintain a stable temperature and produce a uniform cooking process. If you require a long smoke for your pork or brisket and you’ve got the time on your hands, these pellets are perfect for you.
Furthermore, the manufacturer used four different kinds of wood for these pellets, which creates a flawless blend. That is, no flavor will be overpowering the other ones. All the flavors work in sync to allow for a complex but pleasant flavor. Also, you can rest assured that they won’t damage your equipment as they are compatible with all types of grills and smokers. We must also not forget to mention that the pellets are quite affordable, which is great news. However, they seem to produce excessively more ash than others.
Being one of the most reputable and popular companies in the USA, anyone who’s familiar with outdoor cooking must know about Traeger Grills. Apart from being into the production and selling of smokers, grills, and other accessories related to outdoor cooking, they also produce high-quality wood pellets. Of course, one of their best smoker pellets is the Traeger Grills PEL310 Oak Smoker Pellets. Being premium wood pellets, they give you a unique pure hardwood taste.
Furthermore, these wood pellets flavor your food with a unique blue smoke, which is something out of the ordinary. On top of that, the company claims that this product is made of 100 percent natural hardwood and contains no unnecessary agents or fillers. Regardless of your cooking style such as braising, roasting, baking, or smoking, the Traeger Grills PEL310 Oak adds a certain distinct flavor to your food. Besides, it allows your food to be cooked at a consistent level of heat, which allows for evenly cooked food.
Moving on, in terms of package size, this product weighs 20 pounds, which is a lot considering the quality of these pellets. While these pellets are made by a company that manufactures grills and smokers, you’d be forgiven for thinking they would work only with Traeger smokers and grills. The reverse is the case, however, as these pellets are compatible with every kind of grill. If we must fault them at all though, it would be that the packaging seems to be sub-standard.
Thanks to its strong discharge of special and unique flavors, a lot of people prefer hickory for cooking and barbecue. Being 100 percent hickory, the CookinPellets 40H Hickory Smoking Pellets perfectly adds flavors to your food. In addition, the pellets provide a high BTU, which is in no small part to its low moisture. Unlike some other manufacturers that use as much as 70 percent of alder or oak, Cookinghickory pellets guarantee that this one is made with 100 percent natural hardwood and doesn’t use alder or oak.
Furthermore, you can use these pellets on any type of grill, without you being at risk of voiding your warranty. Besides, you don’t have to be a grilling maestro or be massively experienced before you can use these pellets. They burn rather hot, of course, but it also provides adequate fine smoke to cook your food evenly, leaving a permeated flavor at every inch of the steak, chicken or steak. When you fire them up, some of the pellets have a tendency of releasing chemical flavors because of their laced oil. However, rest assured that everything is completely natural blend of four hardwoods and nothing that can’t be found in cooking pellets.
Moving on, we must admit that not knowing the percentage of the different woods with which your pellets are made can cause your food not to have the flavor you want. Therefore, the product needs to let you know the exact material from which it is made and that’s where CookinPellets stand out. They state exactly what is in their pellets, so they have been able to maintain their quality. However, these pellets may not be suitable if your pockets are not deep as they’re expensive.
The Louisiana Grills Pennsylvania Cherry Pellets may not look different when compared to other pellets, but it’s different, with its blend of cherry and maple. Indeed, it’s the perfect choice if you’re a health enthusiast, thanks to everything the manufacturers have taken into consideration during its production. In fact, to make sure that this pellet is of high-quality, Louisiana Grills had to team up with Joe Traeger, who originally owns Traeger Grills. Apart from that, their collaboration with Joe Traeger is also a way to expand their scope of blend and improve the company’s competitive market position.
These pellets are a mix of cherry and maple, with the former taking 40 percent and the latter taking 60 percent. This guarantees a perfect blend for all vegetables and meats as it will deliver strong flavors. Another good news is that these wood pellets are affordable, which means you don’t need to have deep pockets before you can enjoy their strong flavors. On top of that, it also comes in a 40-pound bag, guaranteeing a large quantity despite being affordable. With this, burning quickly through the bag will be less painful on your pocket.
Furthermore, these wood pellets are compatible with any kind of grill or smoker, which is a unique attribute of high-quality pellets. In addition, another important thing to note is that these pellets have consistent heat production. However, there’s no information about what the primary wood is, which is a drawback. Another thing we found unpleasant is the excessive ash generation of these pellets, which is less than ideal.
Despite being the most suitable grilling wood pellets and being produced using apple wood, it’s incredibly surprising that the Camp Chef Bag of Premium for Smoker is still unbelievably affordable, making it our Budget Pick. It’s also worth adding that it will work excellently with any grill brand, which is a massive plus. Since there’s no combination and blend of wood, it’s 100% apple, which means the apple flavor will stand out. You can also combine them with a host of other pellets if you need some variety.
Like we already mentioned, these pellets can work with a wide range of grills and not essentially Camp Chef grills only. On top of that, these wood pellets are made from 100 percent high-quality burning virgin apple hardwood. Additionally, there’re no additional flavors or oil and no fillers whatsoever, which is nothing surprising considering everything we’ve learned about these pellets up till now. If you wish to combine with the apple hardwood, you may check out some various pellet grill recipes and which kind of wood will be most ideal based on what you’re smoking.
In general, this is an excellent wood pellet with high-quality wood, coming at an affordable price. Left to us, we think it wouldn’t hurt at all to try out one of these, especially if you’re trying multiple bags. If you want to put some apple hardwood in your grill or smoker, then there is no going wrong with this. However, it’s important to note that this pellet isn’t without its flaws, especially given its cheap price. First, it’s a bit hard to start, but produces lots of smoke once it gets going. Secondly, they burn a bit faster than others, so you may have to be ready to use a lot per cooking session.
While Smokehouse is not as popular as the likes of Traeger and Camp Chef, it’s also a reputable company in its own right. Therefore, it’s not overly surprising that they have produced something with so much quality as the Smokehouse Alder Flavored Wood Pellets. First of all, these pellets are produced using 100 percent natural hardwoods, with no waxes, binders, or unknown ingredients. Also, another important addition is that they are flavored with 100 percent real hardwoods, so there is no additives or oils.
Furthermore, they create five high-quality food flavors of BBQ pellets – mesquite, apple, hickory, alder, and cherry. It’s also worth noting that like other high-quality pellets we have included on this list, this one can also be used on every kind of grill, thereby eliminating every kind of restrictions. Another good news is that these wood pellets generate unique flavors that are ideal for smoking or grilling all your beef, pork, or poultry. Even though these pellets come at the fraction of the price of more expensive models, everything about it screams “quality.”
Another thing that Smokehouse pellets are known for is their consistency and quality, and it’s the same thing with these pellets as well. With this level of consistency, you know that every time you make your favorite recipe, it will have the same excellent taste you have come to expect. While it’s a bit difficult sometimes to start these pellets, they generate a lot of heat once they get going. Also, it comes in a five-pound packaging only, which is not much.
What we liked:
Made of 100 percent natural hardwoods
There’s no oils or additives
Can be used on every grill
What could be better:
Comes in a five-pound packaging
A bit difficult to start sometimes
Things to Consider
To choose the best smoker pellets for your needs, you need more than just reviews. That’s why we have included this comprehensive buying guide, designed to help guide you to the ideal smoker pellets for your needs.
Why it’s so essential to choose pellets carefully
If you really love eating smoked food, you shouldn’t only own a grill. You also need to fuel it with the best smoker pellets for the best results. Meanwhile, it’s not enough to just know the various brands of pellets to make the right decision. You also must know the benefits you stand to enjoy when you choose the best pellets.
One of the primary benefits of the best smoker pellets is their lack of additives and fillers, which makes them a lot like charcoal briquettes. Also, that’s why they completely burn with little or no ash at all. However, “the best smoker pellets” is the keyword here, and only the best ones have these qualities. The market is littered with low-quality smoker pellets nowadays, and if you end up choosing one of them, you’re bound to have a terrible experience.
Apart from not providing consistent heat and not naturally enhancing the food’s flavor, these low-quality smoker pellets also burn a lot faster and generate a lot of ash, which is unlike the best smoker pellets. In addition, some pellets are designed to only work with some certain brands of smokers, so you need to keep compatibility in mind as well.
Features to consider while choosing smoker pellets
There are many things to take into consideration before buying anything – different qualities, unique characteristics, and some other stuff. When you’re buying smoker pellets, things could take a small complex turn.
We have, however, made things easier as we have narrowed everything down to the primary key elements needed to make accurate decisions.
Type of wood used
For many years, hardwood pellets have been utilized by people for grilling, BBQ, and smoking, among others. Various kinds of pellets will allow for various heating level, and there are three primary types of wood pellets, namely:
Standard wood pellets – Standard wood pellets are known as the basic type. Usually produced using derivate of the forestry industry, these pellets usually contain a pretty high amount of ash. However, not all standard wood pellets can be used for smoking or cooking as they usually have artificial binders or additives in them.
Food-grade wood pellets – Food-grade wood pellets, as suggested by their name already, are pellets that can be used to cook or smoke food. They usually contain no additives, artificial binders, or chemicals.
Premium wood pellets – Premium wood pellets are usually known to have the highest quality. Apart from lacking chemicals, synthetic binders or additives, they also don’t contain bark. Therefore, they usually have a very low ash content. Thanks to their premium quality, these pellets are usually costlier than food-grade or standard wood pellets. moreover, these pellets are often flavored to deliver a unique taste and smell. An example of premium wood pellets is the CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix.
It’s not all pellets that will be suitable for every grill or smoker that you own. Therefore, it’s absolutely needed for you to ensure you go through adequate reviews and researches to lessen the trial and error. Or else, you might just find yourself with pellets that won’t even work with your grill or smoker. Meanwhile, there are some pellets like the Camp Chef Bag of Premium for Smoker and the RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets that work with every kind of machine.
Apart from the obvious features we have mentioned, there are still some other features you may need to consider when choosing the right pellets for your needs. Some of the extra questions you need to ask include if the package is waterproof, if it’s all-natural, and if the charcoal is sparkle-free. Of course, each of these features is important, but you may need to pay more for them.
There is actually no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as some pellets burn faster than others. Therefore, the amount of pellets you need with one type of pellets may be different when compared to another type, but that depends on the burning rate.
The most ideal wood for salmon is maple wood as it guarantees to give a mild and sweet flavor to your salmon. While it’s usually used to smoke poultry, vegetables, and cheese, it can also be an excellent option for fish.
While they are most ideal for smoking, all the smoker pellets we have included in this list can also be used for grilling. However, make sure you always check their description to verify before buying.
All the pellets we have included on this list are of high-quality, and it’s really difficult to separate them. If we must pick a winner, however, we’ve got to give it to the RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets. Apart from being suitable for a wide range of foods, it’s also compatible with every type of grill, making it a very versatile model. On top of that, it comes in a 40-pound package, cementing its place as the best smoker pellets on the market.